IMEC creates VC fund, targets €100 million
The imec.xpand fund is targeting a total of €100 million to €120 million (up to about $135 million) and has already secured a significant amount of that according to Tom Vanhoutte, who is a manager of the fund alongside Peter Vanbekbergen.
The fund is looking to support ideas and projects across the range of hardware and software with potential to contribute to sustainable society such as smart health, smart mobility, smart cities, smart industries or smart energy.
Imec.xpand will invest in early-stage ideas and projects from both inside and outside IMEC but is particularly looking for projects where IMEC expertise or access to IMEC engineering and cleanrooms can be a differentiator or an aid to success, the body states on its website. Nonetheless, the fund operates as a traditional early-stage fund that has financial return for its shareholders as the main goal.
Vanhoutte described imec-xpand’s advantage for startups as: “enabling capex-light innovation in a capex-heavy environment and by giving them access to the unique IMEC knowledge, expertise, network and state of the art infrastructure.”
Documentation seen by eeNews Europe also stresses the ability of imec.xpand to select promising technologies and give “strategic investors a first-look at the technologies that will give them a competitive edge.” Vanhoutte, declined to disclose to eeNews Europe who had contributed to the fund but said via email: “Our investors are a perfect mix of reputable corporates, financial institutions, family offices and government-related entities.”
Next: Bigger bets
The fund is aiming for investments between €8 million and €12 million and is in part complementary to IMEC’s long-running iStart incubation program. However, iStart is only open to companies less than two years old based in the Flanders/Brussels region. The invested amounts by imec.istart are also only about €50,000 or €150,000 backed up with other benefits in kind.
The plan is for imec.xpand to have a technical advisory board made up of made up of representatives of the key fund contributors and independent industry experts.
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